Saddler’s Ready To Rock Ascot
Saddler’s Ready To Rock Ascot
By Simon Holt

Saddlers Rock

2pts win Saddler’s Rock in 15.45 Ascot at best-morning price. Improving and not faroff the market leaders on form.
1pt win Princess Highway in 15.05 Ascot a best-morning price. Dam won this race and she beat the Oaks winner Was at Naas.
1pt win Fast Or Free in 16.25 Ascot a best-morning price. Rapid improver who must go close for lethal trainer/jockey combination.
1pt’e.w Ghost Protocol in 17.35 Ascot a best-morning price. Looks like this trip will suit and could reward each-way support.

The Ascot Gold Cup features the first and second from last year in Fame And Glory and Opinion Poll and the former was a very impressive winner last time around.

He was three lengths clear of Opinion Poll at the line and Aidan O’Brien’s horse does seem to have the measure of the Godolphin charge, as he also beat him here on Champions Day in October.

Fame And Glory is a rattling good horse, Group One class over a mile and a half who happens to stay two and a half miles, much like his former stable companion Yeats, who of course won this race four times.

He came back to win at Navan first time out this season, beating Unaccompanied by a neck. It’s possible he may have needed the run.

There’s a line of form here through Unaccompanied to Saddler’s Rock who also made his reappearance recently at Leopardstown.

He was probably in need of the run as well and he was beaten by the progressive Midnight Soprano with Unaccompanied just a length back in third.

There’s not much between Fame And Glory and Saddler’s Rock on that line of form yet the former is a much shorter price.

Saddler’s Rock beat Opinion Poll in the Doncaster Cup last September and had the benefit of the weight-for-age allowance on that occassion, but he’s a lightly-raced type who seems to be improving nicely.

I suspect he could well beat Opinion Poll again and shake up the favourite.

The other interesting horse is Colour Vision. He’s improved a great deal since finishing third in the Cesarewitch, going on to finish third behind Fame And Glory and Opinion Poll at Ascot on Champions Day.

He wasn’t beaten that far that day and appeared to take another step forward when beating Red Cadeaux in a Group Three on the all weather at Kempton last time out, the pair well clear.

Red Cadeaux went on to win the Yorkshire Cup so Colour Vision looks a threat now in the Godolphin blue.

All in all, Fame And Glory will be a short-priced favourite to win another Gold Cup but I think the sharply progressive Saddler’s Rock could be the one to shake him up.

The Ribblesdale Stakes features many of the principles form the Oaks. In that race Shirocco Star chased home Was with The Fugue back in third, in fourth place was Vow and also behind them was Colima and Twirl.

It was a pretty confusing race, run at a steady pace with a lot of trouble in-running.

Many people think The Fugue was unlucky, she was badly hampered in the early stages but got herself into a good position and appeared to have every chance from two furlongs out.

It’s possible she could decide to turn the tables on Shirocco Star, but Hughie Morrison’s filly is interesting because she takes on Momentary again, a filly that beat her in a listed race at Newbury.

The fact that Her Majesty The Queen owns Momentary adds extra interest in this Diamond Jubilee year.

However, I think the Oaks form could be a bit misleading and I’m going to take a chance on the Irish raider Princess Highway.

Trained by Dermot Weld, she’s unbeaten in two starts this season. She won her maiden in March in comfortable fashion from Betterbetterbetter and then had Oaks winner Was behind in a Group 3 at Naas in May.

It’s interesting that she bypassed the Epsom classic, maybe this was the target, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was as Princess Highway‘s dam Irresistable Jewel won the Ribblesdale.

Princess Highway has a good deal of improvement to come and she’s the one for’me.

Elsewhere on the card there’s a few good betting opportunities including the William Haggas-trained Fast Or Free in the Britannia Stakes.

He’s showed a really good attitude so far, winning his first two starts of the season at Kempton and at Newmarket.

He’s gone up a little bit for that Newmarket win but in the hands of Ryan Moore he’s sure to put up a bold show.

And in the last race of the day, the King George’V Handicap, Ghost Protocol looks as though he’ll be suited to a step up to a mile and a half.

He’s a lightly-raced horse, he’s going to be a big price but could return in the places at least in the hands of Hayley Turner.

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